Summer may be over, but here at Exsus we are looking forward to the new season: autumn, with its vibrant orange and gold colours, is an excellent time to take a luxury European city break. Cooler temperatures and soft sunshine make city sightseeing all the more pleasurable, and as for the crowds, there are of course fewer, and to top it all you’ll find that prices plummet as well. The question is: where to go? We’ve rounded up our top city breaks in Europe for autumn 2015, handpicked by our European Expert, Kelly...
Spain is a fantastic choice for sun-drenched city breaks, and we particularly love Seville in Andalucia. The autumn brings with it ripe and juicy oranges, perennial sunshine and pleasantly warm temperatures, so sightseeing is an absolute delight. A walking tour of the city will have you marvelling at Moorish architecture, like the breathtaking Real de Alcazar palace which dates back to the 10th century and is bedecked in pretty tiles and ornate arches. You’ll also meander through the warren of alleyways in the old town, catch gripping flamenco shows and dine in as many tapas bars as you can manage over a long weekend. We recommend El Rinconcillo, the oldest tapas bar in Spain where you rub shoulders with the locals, nibble on jamon Serrano and other specialties while sipping cañas of beer or refreshing tinto de verano.
Touted by the Italians themselves as Italy’s foodie capital, Bologna is one of the country’s best kept secrets. Tucked away in the charming region of Emilia-Romagna, Bologna is an enchanting medieval city dripping in Baroque churches, art galleries and superb gourmet restaurants. Feast on delicacies like tortellini and of course Bolognese, and head out of the city to tour cheese and ham factories – Emilia-Romagna is the birthplace of Parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano, after all. As well as boasting beautiful basilicas, theatres and piazzas, Bologna is peppered with cool bars which offer complimentary aperitivos with your drink – you can’t say no to that!
Budapest, brimming with leafy promenades and lush urban parks, is a radiant city in autumn with its transforming colours and lively cultural scene. Head up to Sas Hill, a 30 hectare nature reserve where many plant species have grown since the Ice Age, or stroll through City Park and admire the golden, orange and red hues of the trees. While you’re here make sure you visit Széchenyi Thermal Bath and plunge into the steaming mineral-rich spring waters, which the city (and Hungary in general) is so famous for. Budapest is also known for its teahouse culture – you can sip on the much-loved brew into the wee hours, as they tend to stay open until very late.
Dubrovnik, the ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’, is a gorgeous confection of baroque buildings, terracotta roofs and winding streets, perched right on the cusp of the glittering cobalt sea. The walled city is all the more alluring between September and November when the crowds dissipate and you get its ravishing charms to yourself. It is still warm enough to swim and the turquoise waters are utterly enticing, making it perfect for a beach and city break. Stroll along the ramparts to view the picturesque medieval townscape from above, navigate the pedestrianised historic centre, peek into quaint churches, and devour freshly caught seafood like oysters or grilled octopus at one of the restaurants lining the waterfront.